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The Art Of Quitting Part 1
Emotional Development
10 April 2024

The Art Of Quitting – Part 1 : Why Quitting Is An Art

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Quitting is an Art that takes practice and skill. Mastering it means knowing yourself and being able to see situations truthfully, acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses.


Part 1 of ‘The Art of Quitting’ series delves into the nuanced understanding that quitting isn’t merely an end but a valuable moment of transition, teaching the distinction between quitting for avoidance and exploration. Risky Kids offers a unique perspective on navigating these decisions, emphasising the importance of identifying true motives and the transformative power of quitting when guided properly.

  • Endings Add Meaning: All aspects of life, including friendships and hobbies, inevitably end, often enriching our experiences.
  • Quitting as a Skill: Distinguishes between healthy and unhealthy quitting, focusing on Avoidance and Exploration motives.
  • Understanding and Guidance: Emphasises the importance of understanding when to move on and doing so with purpose and respect.
  • The Role of Experience: Young people’s avoidance often stems from a lack of experience, making valuable moments seem daunting.
  • Supporting Decisions: Risky Kids supports youth in navigating the complexities of quitting, fostering growth and self-awareness.

The Art Of Quitting - Part 1 : Why Quitting Is An Art

There’s a start to all things, and an end. No matter what it is we’re doing in life, this is always going to be true.

 From our friendships to our jobs and hobbies, all things end. Sometimes it’s even the ending which gives meaning to the whole experience. For this reason at Risky Kids we put a lot of emphasis on this.

This is the first of a three part article where we’re going to explore this Art of Quitting. In the first we’re going to understand more about why people quit, for either Avoidance or Exploration reasons and then begin to learn how we can tell when it’s healthy, and when it’s not.

Why Would I Want My Kid To Quit?

You don’t sign your kids up to programs, drop them at school or introduce them to new kids with the hope that it’ll end.

  • Quitting is valuing timely endings, not mere cessation.
  • Identifying healthy vs. unhealthy quitting reasons is challenging.
  • Open discussions on quitting foster resilience and deepen family bonds.

That’s not what the Art of Quitting is about. It’s about understanding that the time when we WANT to end something is a valuable one. It’s not about encouraging kids to quit, but teaching them when it’s time to move on and how to do so in a healthy, respectful way, or when it’s time to dig deep and persevere.

The difficulty often lies in identifying between these two. People very, very rarely believe they’re ending something for unhealthy reasons. This is especially true for young people and their families.

Being open about quitting and discussing it with young people will not only help to build resilience as they face their discomforts and thoughts, but it will also deepen relationships between families. These are the times when we can learn who our young people are, what they fear and how they think. Most rewarding of all, it’s when we can see them overcome those fears. We’re grateful that at Risky Kids we see that every day.

Blog Infographic The Art Of Quitting Part 1

Why is Quitting an Art

Just like all of the emotional and cognitive skills we develop in our community, facing the moments where we WANT things to end is something we see as an art.

  • Viewing quitting as an art, Risky Kids teaches navigation of desired endings.
  • Reasons to quit vary: lost fun, challenge levels, social fit, or personal growth.
  • Quitting motivations boil down to two types: Avoidance of discomfort or Exploration for growth.

There’s real reasons why a person might want to quit something, for it to end. At Risky Kids we help young people and their families navigate this weekly. Sometimes it’s that they don’t want to practise a move, or apologise to another kid. Other times it’s that they want to quit Risky Kids altogether. It’s so much more than just the case that a person wants to quit, and because of that it’s the right choice. Even now you could tell me as an adult there’s things you might not want to face or do all the time, but you get on with it all because that’s a part of life! Finding this balance, being able to navigate those moments and understand what is best for ourselves, or for our young people, is a powerful skill. That’s why we call it the Art Of Quitting.

People quit for all sorts of reasons. Something isn’t fun any more, it’s not challenging enough, it’s too challenging, the people aren’t our kind of people, we’ve changed as a person. There’s also times that we’ll quit because we’re afraid, or anxious and don’t want to ask for help, or that we’re unsure our skills are up to the task and don’t want to take the risk. 

Why we quit can be simply put into two categories: Avoidance, or Exploration.

Avoidance and Exploration

Avoidance is when we’re uncomfortable. I won’t get into it here (read our article on Avoidance for more!) but this avoidance can be both healthy and unhealthy.

  • Young people often quit to avoid discomfort, lacking valuable life experiences.
  • Exploration quitting stems from genuine growth needs, requiring deep self-knowledge.
  • Mistaking avoidance for exploration is common, yet quitting impacts personal development.

But more often than not, especially for young people, avoidance is something which is rooted in deep parts of our thinking. We run away or try to eliminate the parts of our lives which are difficult, especially if we haven’t had enough experiences to teach us that those moments can be valuable. When we quit for avoidance reasons, we’re trying to diminish discomfort or adversity. We’ll explore the reasons for that in Part 2.

Exploration is when we’ve got genuine reasons to move on, we’ve identified a better place for ourselves, or that we’ve changed enough as a person to no longer need or want to be a part of where we are (relationship/job/hobby). We use quitting as a way to end things, to understand ourselves better or because we understand ourselves better. This is a powerful action, but it’s not something that is just easily achieved. It takes deep personal knowledge, lots of experience and a very objective perspective of our situation.

Often when we feel like we’re quitting for Exploration reasons, it’s far more likely that we’re doing it for Avoidance reasons. We come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses as to why it’s the right thing to do, because we don’t want to feel like we’re letting ourselves, or our young people down. Funnily enough, our experience at Risky Kids is young people are much better at being honest about these things. They’ll often just tell us that they want to quit because things are too hard, or they feel like they can’t do it!

We need to learn how to differentiate between the two, because in both cases when we quit, it’s going to change us.

The Consequences of Quitting

Quitting has consequences, regardless of our reasons for doing it.

  • Risky Kids aims to teach healthy quitting through a thoughtful process.
  • Often, wanting to quit signals a need for help rather than giving up.
  • Success stories highlight when quitting reflects personal growth and new achievements.

The hope we have at Risky Kids is that we can teach young people and their families how to quit in a way which is “healthy”. What this means is that the young person and their family have gone through a series of steps to help them identify the reasons behind their choices and if those reasons make it the best choice.

We believe that when a young person says they want to quit something, it’s often because they’ve run out of tools to manage the challenges alone. Those are the moments where what a young person is really saying is “I need help”.

For example, a young girl had told her mum that she wanted to leave the program after less than a term with us. She said she didn’t enjoy it and wanted to do something else. When we spoke with her and asked her why she felt that way, the “grain of truth” was that she was comparing herself to her brother and didn’t feel good enough. Now if we’d let her quit without exploring this, we would have put her on a path to comparing herself to others, to quitting every time someone was better than her. Instead we helped her conquer those feelings and she excelled and stayed enrolled, meaning her parents didn’t have to go find a new program either!

Just the same, we’ve had families tell us their kids have reached high levels in sports teams, playing Rep Basketball or Soccer and need to focus completely on that, or that they’ve begun to master a martial art and want to add a few more sessions to their routine and have to give up Risky Kids. Those times we celebrate with the young people that they’ve found  “their way” gladly!

Identifying Healthy and Unhealthy Quitting

Part 2 of our Art of Quitting series is really going to delve into this, but the main difference between the two is finding out the “why” with your young person.

Never just accept a thought or statement as being enough information. For example, if your Risky Kid tells you “I don’t want to go any more” this isn’t a reason, it’s not even an emotion! Ask them why, ask them what feelings they’re having when they’re there, before, during and after.

A lot of times kids will say when they’re there they love it, but beforehand they’re nervous! Sometimes that’s because they’ve been ripped away from a game or something relaxing, or know it’s a Move they struggle with that week and want to avoid it.


Quitting really is an art. We have to be able to confront deep parts of ourselves which we might not even be aware of, we have to question our thoughts and where they originate from. For young people especially, this is a time where they need guidance and support. It’s one of the things we do best at Risky Kids, which is to help families navigate these times, and it’s one of the things no other program does. We teach people how to quit.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams

Risky Kids Founder, Director of Programming

Richard Williams is a fitness industry consultant, gym owner, business coach and professional stunt actor with more than a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. With an education in psychology and criminology, Richard blended life experience as a fitness industry consultant with Spartan Race, gym owner, elite-obstacle racer, ultra-runner and professional stunt actor to create the Risky Kids program.

Richard has a passion for enacting meaningful social change through all avenues of health and wellbeing and believes that obstacles are the way. Some of Richard’s key achievements include:

  • Key consultant/coordinator Spartan Race/Tough Mudder/Extreme Endurance
  • OCR World Championship Finalist –  Team & Solo (2015)
  • OCR World Championship Silver Medallist – Team Endurance (2018)
  • Professional film and television stunt performer for 15 years

Considered one of Australia’s foremost experts in the fields of fitness, wellbeing and behavioural science, Richard is frequently in demand as a guest speaker for relevant government and non-
government bodies and organisations. Speaking engagements centred on the success of the Risky Kids program, philosophy and approach have included:

  • Expert speaker/panellist Sports & Camp; Recreation Victoria and Outdoors Victoria forums
  • Closing expert speaker at the Australian Camps Association National Conference
  • Expert speaker at the National Fitness Expo, FILEX